Dan Coats

ISIS strong, could get stronger if U.S. pulls out of Syria, Pentagon report warns
The ISIS command organization is intact and its fighters are “battle-hardened,” the report said

Gen. Joseph Votel, chief of U.S. Central Command (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As President Donald Trump prepares to reaffirm in Tuesday night’s State of the Union address both victory over the Islamic State and a call for withdrawing American troops from foreign battlefields, a new Pentagon report says the terrorist group is still strong and would get stronger once U.S. troops leave Syria.

A U.S.-led coalition has eliminated some 99 percent of the territory in Syria and Iraq that the Islamic State, or ISIS, once claimed as its so-called caliphate.

Photos of the Week: Powerful women take over powerful committees, Barr interviews and museums reopen
Roll Call’s photographers take from this week in the Capitol

Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., waits for William Barr, nominee to he Attorney General of the United States, to arrive in his office for their meeting on Monday, Jan. 28, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Trump refuses to express confidence in intelligence chiefs amid latest feud
‘Time will prove me right, probably’ after they broke with him on Iran, North Korea and ISIS

—President Donald Trump, flanked from left by Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Sen. John Thune, R-S. D., and Vice President Mike Pence speaks to reporters following his lunch meeting with Senate Republicans in the Capitol on Jan. 9. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump further escalated his feud with his hand-picked intelligence bosses Thursday when he refused to clearly say he has confidence in them after they contradicted his policies during congressional testimony.

Asked if he has confidence in Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and CIA Director Gina Haspel, Trump did not answer directly. “Time will prove me right, probably” on issues on which they differ, including: Iran, the Islamic State and North Korea.

Trump warns border security conference committee before talks begin
President answers rare rebukes from intel chiefs, Mitch McConnell in early morning tweetstorm

President Donald Trump shakes hands with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell  after delivering his address to a joint session of Congress in 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 9:06 a.m. | An early rising President Donald Trump appeared eager to drive Wednesday’s agenda, sending a warning during his daily “executive time” to the special committee trying to avert another government shutdown and defending his Middle East policy after a rare GOP rebuke.

A House-Senate conference committee trying to craft a border security package Trump will support will meet Wednesday for the first time, and the president let them know funding for a border barrier needs to be in any legislation they craft ahead of a Feb. 15 deadline.

Spy chiefs say Chinese, Russian cyber strengths are top threats to U.S.

From left, FBI Director Christopher Wray, CIA Director Gina Haspel, DNI Director Dan Coats, DIA Director Robert Ashley, NSA Director Paul Nakasone, and National Geospatial-Intelligence Director Robert Cardillo testify during the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on “Worldwide Threats” on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

China and Russia possess cyber technologies they will increasingly unleash on U.S. companies, the military, election systems and critical infrastructure, and that poses a significant threat to national security, Dan Coats told the Senate Intelligence panel in an annual hearing called the Worldwide Threat Assessment.

“At present, China and Russia pose the greatest espionage and cyberattack threats,” but other countries are catching up, the director of National Intelligence told the committee Tuesday. 

Lawmakers Want to Push Back at Saudi Arabia With or Without Trump
Question may be whether there is a veto-proof majority for legislation

Sen. Lindsey Graham expects bipartisan support for sanctions against Saudi Arabia. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

At least when it comes to Congress, Tuesday’s afternoon statement from President Donald Trump might not prove helpful to the cause of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the Saudi royal family.

Even some of Trump’s strongest supporters on Capitol Hill are insisting the legislative branch will act to respond to the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, even though there is still no sign of it on the legislative agenda.

Under Democratic Control, Russia, Spy Agencies, Tech to Get Greater Scrutiny, Schiff Says
If House flips majority, top Democrat on Intelligence Committee says expect more oversight

Rep. Adam B. Schiff, D-Calif., ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, says the panel would conduct more oversight under Democratic control. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

If Democrats take the House in next week’s election, the House Intelligence Committee plans to exercise greater oversight over U.S. intelligence agencies, finish the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, and probe threats posed by new technologies, according to Rep. Adam B. Schiff of California, who would become chairman of the panel.

If Democrats win, “we must refocus the committee on conducting serious oversight of the intelligence community and the Trump Administration’s direction to the intelligence agencies we oversee,” Schiff told CQ Roll Call in an email.

Democrats Press Dan Coats for Details of Trump’s Chinese Election Meddling Claims
Members of the Senate Intelligence Committee ask if intelligence community will back the president

Sen. Ron Wyden is leading a request for intelligence about Chinese election meddling. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Three Democratic members of the Senate Intelligence Committee want to know whether the actual intelligence backs up President Donald Trump’s claims of election meddling by the Chinese.

“We are writing with regard to President Trump’s most recent comments on foreign interference in U.S. elections, wrote Sens. Ron Wyden of Oregon, Martin Heinrich of New Mexico and Kamala Harris of California, in a letter released Tuesday addressed to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats.

Russia, China, Iran Aim to Sway Elections, Officials Warn
First came the dire election warning. Minutes later, more Russian meddling charges

Intelligence and homeland security officials are concerned about election meddling — and not just by Russian President Vladimir Putin. China and Iran are also threats. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

The Justice Department on Friday charged a Russian woman with election interference just as top U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies warned that Russia, China, and Iran are running influence campaigns seeking to sway American voters in the 2018 midterms and the 2020 presidential campaigns.

“We are concerned about ongoing campaigns by Russia, China and other foreign actors, including Iran, to undermine confidence in democratic institutions and influence public sentiment and government policies,” said the statement issued jointly by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Justice Department, the FBI, and the Department of Homeland Security. “These activities also may seek to influence voter perceptions and decision making in the 2018 and 2020 U.S. elections.”

Nunes Plans to Release House Russia Probe Interviews Before Midterms
Schiff, Democrats have been calling for release for months

Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., plans to release interview transcripts from the House Russia probe by the midterm elections. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Devin Nunes, the chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, plans to release the transcripts of dozens of private interviews from the committee’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election.

With midterms coming up, the California Republican said, he wants to work quickly in the coming weeks to make unclassified interviews from the probe public and have Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats declassify the others.